Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eugenio’s Café Gelato – Saratoga Springs, NY

We have visited Eugenio’s Café Gelato countless times since it first opened in 2003. It has been our favorite destination after gorging ourselves on Thai food (or more recently Chipotle) for some time. I realize that it is unfair to only write a Dinching Hour post about it now with a negative comment. So let me first state that Eugenio’s has by far the best gelato in the capital region and possibly even in a much larger region. It is all homemade, and every flavor is delicious. The fruit flavors, mango in particular, are the best in my opinion, although the chocolate is favored by Nabiscoman who chooses that almost every time. No prices are posted for the gelato; it’s one of those things that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. I’m always astonished to see families with children in there.

We recently went to Café Gelato on a Sunday evening. I chose coconut, which was excellent as expected. NM chose his standard chocolate. We sat down to eat it on an empty bench outside. NM commented that his chocolate tasted of peanut butter (he dislikes peanut butter, I love it). He asked me to taste it, and it was, indeed, chocolate peanut butter (another flavor on the menu). He went back inside to see if he had been given the wrong flavor. The girl behind the counter insisted he was given the correct flavor and sent him on his way. Given that a cup of gelato is five dollars, I think she could have at least tasted what they were selling as chocolate to see if there had been a mix-up. The two flavors look identical and it seems plausible that a tub of chocolate peanut butter was mistakenly put in the chocolate’s place.

NM returned to the bench to continue eating his “chocolate” gelato. Moments later he pulled out a long, gelato-covered hair. He went back inside to convey his latest problem. The serving girl suggested NM speak to the owner, which he did. The owner explained that there is no law requiring the wearing hairnets while preparing food in New York, so it’s not surprising that hair may be occasionally found in the gelato. At this point, the owner offered to give NM a new cup of “chocolate” gelato – presumably from the same tub that produced the peanut-butter-tasting, hair-laden cup! NM suggested a refund instead, and the owner complied.

This experience was enough to sour us on our customary sweet treat. There are many other dessert establishments in downtown Saratoga, including Ben and Jerry’s and the Cold Stone Creamery. On our next sojourn to Saratoga we’ll rethink our gelato habit and try somewhere new.


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